Some people say they want to be the best. And then some say they are striving to be their best. The former have identified a ceiling and the latter have embraced a process. Put Gavyn Byrd in the latter category. The 2020 uncommitted RHP/OF of Wesleyan Christian in High Point, NC, has long recognized to take those paths that will bring out his best while knowing the next step is simply an elevation of expectations.
It is why Byrd chose to be a Dirtbag the summer prior to his 8th grade year. He said he knew the organization would expect his best each time out and remarked that he knew he’d be pushed and that’s when he plays his best.
As the general manager of Dirtbags Baseball, Trey Daly certainly agrees with Gavyn’s recognition he has grown in his skills as a player. Daly commented, “Byrd has continued to make strides every year in the Dirtbag uniform.”
And like many who see gains in their game, the 5’11” 160 pounder has done it with hard work. Byrd says this past spring was a season of personal bests for him as he and his Trojans made it to the state championship series. Along the way he posted 7 wins as a pitcher and had 25 hits in the 2-spot of the batting order.
While Byrd is a two-way guy, he says he knows his improvements on the mound are where the attraction to a college program may be most recognizable. Daly’s evaluation makes this understandable by saying, “Byrd is an athletic RHP who’s 84-88 with the fastball and shows a 72-75 mph slider from a three-quarter arm slot.”
To show he is still developing, Gavyn has even learned to drop that arm slot lower when needed and has equipped himself with a devastating change-up that became his best pitch during the spring.
Apart from the physical tools, Byrd is quick to point that his time with the Dirtbags has impacted him in the mental game. From the environments in which he has been placed, to the competition he has faced, the rising senior has learned to bring out his best with a relentless passion and effort. In his words, “I’m going to compete. I won’t give in or give up. I’m going to beat you.”
Not only has he improved as a player because of who he is as a worker, but Byrd also mentioned the relationships he has benefited from with Dirtbag coaches and players alike. From coaches he considered “hard” to some that were more “relaxed” he says it has always been evident they were available to help him get better. Add in what he calls the hardest working players in the game, and he sees the Dirtbags as an organization as a family throughout.
Having recently been moved to the Dirtbags All Blacks squad, Byrd says he can tell this group is special and he’s excited to be competing with them in Atlanta for the Perfect Game WWBA 17u National Championships later this week. It will be another opportunity for him to show where he is on this journey to being his best.
It’s a journey that has been produced by Byrd’s hard work and according to Daly that will not change. “One thing you are going to get with Byrd wherever he lands in college is you are going to get a worker.”
The right-hander says he is excited about how the recruiting process has been unfolding. Having received a few offers, Byrd says the best fit for him will involve not only a school with a smaller size (he cited the small class sizes at Wesleyan Christian made a difference in his high school experience) but also a place with reliable people who he can trust.
And for someone who seems to have trusted the process throughout his playing career, waiting for that right program to will surely pay off.